The Whitlingham Bird Report for 2016 is now available to download here.

The previous reports are also availble: 2015 here,
2014 report here and the 2013 report here. Thanks to everyone who has contributed sightings, information and photos to these reports.

You may also be interested in Chris Durdin's Thorpe Marsh Wildlife Report for 2016, which is available http://www.honeyguide.co.uk/documents/ThorpeMarshesWildlifeReport2016.pdf

WHITLINGHAM: Summer hail

15th June 2013

Sometimes you get the idea that a trip isn't going to go well. I arrived at Whitlingham to find my normal car park closed, so I headed on to the main one. Here the parking meter was broken, with a note saying "use the one in the overflow car park". As I got out I heard a peel of thunder overhead, and by the time I had returned to the car I had to take shelter from a heavy mid-summer hailstorm. After ten minutes or so it subsided and I got out. I hadn't gone far before my walking boots began sucking up all the nearby water by capillary action, completing their transformation from 'looking a bit rough' to 'no longer fit for purpose'.

Just another summer's day

And so it was, that I began my walk round with soggy feet and the feeling that today probably wasn't the day I got my 100th patch year bird. I began with a look around the ruins and Lime tree avenue for my best bet, Spotted Flycatchers. For the second year running I didn't see any, although I haven't completely given up hope yet. My second best bet was a flyover raptor (Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Osprey all realistic shouts), so I kept scanning the skies in between the cloudbursts. On the broad itself there was nothing unexpected, most off the birds were Greylag as a result of a good breeding year and regular early summer gathering - I counted around 145 adults with several goslings - including two that appear to have been adopted by a pair of Canada Geese.

Just past the bird screen I got a cryptic message from Neil ("are you on your way to the Swift?"). A quick phone call back ascertained that he did indeed mean a Pacific Swift, but that it was in south Suffolk. A shame that it wasn't in Norfolk, but as I was going out in the afternoon it was probably for the best. Continuing around the broad the common warblers were all still singing, but only one or two of each. A couple of Common Terns were on one of the plastic platforms, and a brood of Coot were in the conservation area. There was still no sign of any cygnets - have all of the swan nests failed this year? With the lack of birds I searched through the undergrowth for anything interesting. Hundreds of Common Blue Damselflies flew about the nettles, with a few Blue-tailed Damselflies scattered in. The most interesting thing I found was a gall growing on Ground Ivy.


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